Susan Rice likely Hillary Clinton replacement

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice speaks to the media after a U.N. Security Council meeting on Syria on May 30, 2012 in New York City. The Security Council held discussions following a massacre of more than 100 civilians in Houla.
Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images

(CBS News) President Barack Obama is putting together his cabinet for a second term, including a new CIA director. So far, only Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has confirmed she will leave. And Republicans are already objecting to her potential replacement.

CBS News has learned that President Obama is likely to nominate Susan Rice, the current U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to replace Clinton as Secretary of State.

White House sources say the president feels he should be able to choose the cabinet members he wants, and they say that Rice has performed well on Iran and North Korea. But Rice was the public face of the administration's response to the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, saying that they were prompted by a spontaneous protest -- not terrorism -- and she has come under fire from Republicans.

When asked about the possibility of Rice's nomination as Secretary of State, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., had this to say on CBS News' "Face the Nation": "I'm not entertaining, promoting anybody that I think was involved with the Benghazi debacle. We need to get to the bottom of it. The president has a lot of leeway with me and others when it comes to making appointments, but I'm not going to promote somebody who I think has misled the country or is either incompetent. That's my view of Susan Rice."

White House sources inside the White House say these objections are unfounded, that Rice was not in charge of Benghazi information and Graham should be aware of her minimal role.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., was also talked about as a possible Secretary of State candidate, but White House sources are now talking about him as Secretary of Defense, replacing Leon Panetta. And John Brennan, the president's Homeland Security adviser, is a shoo-in to head the CIA, unless he wants to retire, in which case the job is likely to go to his deputy, Michael Morell.

For Bill Plante's full report, watch the video above.